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Re: Source Code of Music (was: various opinions on Debian vs the GFDL)

Hi Edmund,

On Dienstag 13 Mai 2003 11:54, Edmund GRIMLEY EVANS wrote:
> Thomas Uwe Gruettmueller <sloyment@gmx.net>:
> > So the problem here is that the source code of sample data
> > is more sample data. These samples might again require their
> > sources, and so the resulting tree could be enormous.
> When distributing the source, you don't have to distribute the
> whole tree; you only have to distribute the leaf nodes and the
> Makefile or build script.

This is not the way music is usually made. Usually, there is no 

When I make music with Soundtracker, it mixes together samples 
very accurately and automatically, however this is an exception, 
not the rule. Most musicians use tools that produce 
unreproducable results (e.g. a MIDI sequencer feeding a 
proprietary synthesizer, connected to an analogue sound card, 
running at 44091, or maybe 44107 Hz.) Also, Soundtracker only 
mixes one level. If I wanted to use a second of a previously 
rendered song as a sample for the next song, I would have to cut 
it out manually.

> If you are only using a one-second sample from a recording,
> then you might prefer to distribute just that one second as
> source, provided, of course, that the licence allows it.

Would the GPL allow it?

> You can take an extract from a GPL work and distibute it under
> the GPL.

...from the source code...

If you would like to distribute a piece of a binary you would 
still have to bundle it with the full source code unless you 
could trim the source code in a way that still lets the compiler 
build that certain binary piece you need. But this should be 
quite impossible.

> Unfortunately, you can't do the same with a GFDL work if
> it has "invariant sections".

Of course.

The problem discussed in this subtread was mainly if it was 
possible at all for a sound recording to fit the GFDL's 
definition of 'transparent form'.

> > This is why I think that licenses of free music recordings
> > should not require the distribution of their source code at
> > all.
> I tried to write a paragraph explaining why I think it should
> be all right to require source, the way the GPL defines
> source, but changed my mind while writing it.
> Take for example the case where you create D by digitalising
> an analogue recording A and then want to contribute D to a GPL
> work W.
> Anyone who wants to make an improved version of D would
> obviously like to have access to A, so A is clearly source,
> but you can't include the original analogue recording in the
> source distribution, so you have a problem. If you were to
> destroy A then you might be able to argue that D is now the
> source, but you might not want to destroy your valuable
> historic wax cylinder any more than you want to distribute it,
> whatever that means.

The only Debian package where the source was lost so that the 
binary has to serve as 'source code' is some emulator rom. I 
don't think D-L would ever suggest an author to destroy the 
sources on purpose.

> You have a similar but less severe problem if A is a
> high-precision digital recording (with lots of random noise in
> the low bits) and D is a compressed version: clearly A is
> source of D,

I would argue that D is an excerpt of A. So, if A qualifies as 
'source code', D would do that, too, as it is supposed to be 
converted back into a format compatible with A. Thus the result 
can be modified as easily as A. But this is only my oppinion, 
not the true interpretation of the GPL.

Unfortunally, the DSL defines D to be a binary.

> but the requirement for everyone who distributes
> D to keep a copy of A, or for written offers to be provided,
> is quite a burden. Perhaps it would be doable if some public
> sound archive could keep the original data and provide written
> offers to distributors for a reasonable charge. Public sound
> archives do exist, but I don't know whether they can provide
> written offers to satisfy the GPL requirement on distributors.

Somewhere on this planet, bandwith must be really cheap...

"Look! They have different music on the dance floor..."

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